LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF LEE COUNTY FLORIDA
In 1949, when the League of Women Voters of Lee County was established, there were only eight local leagues in the State of Florida. Twenty women in Lee County, who were interested in government and their community, formed this new organization. By December 4, 1949, when the League was fully accepted as a league, there were sixty-nine members.
Their first program was a study of the juvenile court and probation systems. When the State of Florida allowed women to serve on juries, women were required to register with the Clerk of the Court to indicate their interest in serving. Mrs. James (Jean) Hill, a League member, was among the ten women selected by the County Commissioners, and served as the first woman juror on January 11, 1950.
The League of Women Voters of Lee County is involved in many issues including voter registration and education, natural resources and the environment, education, health, local government, and school issues.
In the recent past, the League, in collaboration with other Lee County organizations, successfully implemented the Conservation 20/20 Program. This program acquires land for conservation of wetlands and other endangered natural land resources that may be used for public enjoyment.
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ABOUT LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF FLORIDA
As in other states, the League of Women Voters of Florida was established in 1921 but was accepted as a full functional State organization in 1939. Women in Winter Haven, Winter Park-Orlando and St. Petersburg, with the assistance of a past president of the national League participated in the reorganization. In its early years, the League’s main office was located in the home town of the elected president. After many moves and numerous leases a decision was made to locate the main office in Tallahassee, where it is today. The State League manages government issues related to the State of Florida, and sets an annual program of priority issues that will be supported during the legislative year.
ABOUT LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE UNITED STATES
The League of Women Voters of the United States is a successor to the National American Woman Suffrage Association formed in 1890 to carry on the work of the suffrage movement. The League was established because women like Carrie Catt understood that newly eligible women voters would need information to become educated voters. That belief became the mission of the League which is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League was full organized in 1920 after passage of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote.
The new organization was similar in structure to that established to win the vote. Each of the states has a state organization, and each state has multiple local chapters. Each of the levels follow the goals of preparing voters for their responsibility (Voter Service) and working for legislation that strives to create good government (Program). The national League focuses on domestic and international issues and ensures that our voice is heard in the U.S. Congress. The focus of attention for the State League is issues involving the State government such as growth management, fiscal reform, water resources, and judicial independence. Local governmental issues are the focus for local chapters.
The early founders established several significant policies that have lasted through the ages and helped establish the League as a trustworthy organization. The first is a nonpartisan policy that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League does not support or oppose candidates. Secondly to promote responsible participation in government issues, an action process was developed. Members study, reach consensus, and identify positions on issues before taking political action.